Time for the East End Towns to Sober Up?
I am an alcoholic. The last time I had a drink was 26 years ago, as of October 15. My favorite observation about that simple fact is that once I started calling myself an alcoholic, everyone else stopped.
Today, I look around at the elected representatives and candidates for the town boards of the East End Towns and I wonder if I am still in an alcoholic haze? The best the two major political parties can offer us is: (D) Out of control spendaholics or (R) Slightly less out of control spendaholics (by attrition)?
Most of this spending has been sold to us on the fraud that it is “For our own good” in the name of preservation and conservation. What is left unsaid is: “Because you’re too ignorant / stupid to know what is best for you.”
What is conservatorship as it is currently practiced here? It is the feeble notion that “We are going to preserve things (our view, mostly) exactly as they are”, “There will be little or no change!” This is an absurd notion because there is no way to stop change. Let’s face it, we are traveling at 26,000 miles per hour and have been for the better part of 4,500,000,000 years. We could not stop changing if we absolutely had to.
You do not have to believe me. Try this experiment the next time you are with a group of people, instead of playing Charades. Pick one person to stand in front of the group, now all of you stand there make a conscious effort not to change. See how long you can last.
Now, what are you reminded of?
If you didn’t say Death, you weren’t paying attention. (Even death is change.) My question then becomes: Why are we committing our towns to commit suicide? Or, perhaps more properly Stupicide? Or, Elite-icide – death by being too clever by half?
The C.P.F. (Community Preservation Fund) legislation was largely brought about by City Elites who have elected not to adjust to country life but rather inflict upon us the misery of clustered urban life that they were fleeing, in a Green Acres kind of way. Second home owners are the rich and they have money for a reason. For the most part, they are smarter about it and have more drive to acquire it than the rest of us. Good for them, I have worked for very few poor people. (No paycheck. N’est-ce pas?) But, there is a certain arrogance that comes with that level of success. Let’s take a look at just who is behind East Hampton Conservators, a supermodel, scions of business, entertainment and publishing. The really rich in other words, now doesn’t it make eminent sense for them to invest a few (perhaps many) thousand(s) dollars into Alec Baldwin’s PAC to ensure that the town spends $206,600,000.00 plus maintenance and interest preserving their view? No muss, no fuss – Voila! Off the Tax Rolls. The rest of us have the carrying costs. The best part for them is that your children, grandchildren and great grandchildren are going to be paying for it for a long, long, long time!
It has simply been a matter of a demographic shift which has been amplified by the adoption of the Community Preservation Fund. Since 1999 the fund has generated $156, 600,000.00 for East Hampton Town (removed from the private economy), the town has borrowed another $50,000,000.00 for a total of at least $206,600,000.00 plus interest on the $50 Mil.! Administering the fund costs another $894,000.00 per year. The fund has produced only $4.9 million to date, this year, down from $30 million in 2007. Go figure?
Not to worry, if you live in the Town of East Hampton your taxes next year are going to increase by 10 percent – 8.8 percent in the Village.
Isn’t it long past time for us as Citizens to “Sober up”? To face a simple fact:
We are bankrupt at ALL levels of government. The Federal Government is at least $77,000,000,000,000.00 in debt thanks to its unfunded liabilities from Social Security and the Great Society Programs. The State of New York is somewhere between $50 – 80,000,000,000.00 in debt. The Town of East Hampton now finds out that it is really $30,000,000.00 in the RED, not the measly $20 million McGintee (D) advertised. Simply put, there is no one left to borrow from, except the Communist Chinese (who seem to understand capitalism better than we do these days).
Election Day is fast approaching and yet we have been offered no real solutions by either major political party. The Republicans want to decrease Town government eventually through attrition but are perfectly happy with the size of the budget.
Go to the Town’s website and look at just two categories: the Departments Directory (About a third of those Departments would be better managed by private enterprise or charities.) and Committees (which is lengthy but not complete. You know that because it stops at the N’s.). Boy! It’s hard to see any duplication or waste there? By the way, am I the only person in the Town of East Hampton who is not on a committee?
While you are at the website, ask yourself another question. For all of the Montessori style continuing Ed: Why is there no Hurricane Evacuation Plan? But, there is the “Dark Skies Initiative” literature. Huh? Seventy percent of this planet is covered by water and half of the remaining thirty percent does not have power 24/7/365, and then there is Antarctica. (Move to North Korea, if dark skies are what you want.) Do not inflict that lifestyle on us. Truly free men and women will not tolerate it, for long.
The Democrats, on the other hand, continue to whistle past the political graveyard of their making. Mr. Zwirn’s Eleven Point Plan is so sophomoric as to be insulting, particularly to those Town employees who handle cash. Mr. Zwirn’s Eleven Point Plan (#7 & #11) implies that the Town’s financial difficulties were caused by nickel and dime petty theft or mishandling on the part of town employees. That’s right $30,000,000.00 in singles and quarters gone! Poof! Absurd.
Furthermore, Mr. Zwirn’s Eleven Point Plan begs a few simple questions of his Team:
1.) How many of your (Accounting 101 – basic good business practices) 11 Point Plan suggestions are already in place? Isn’t Town Comptroller Janet Verneuille already making the changes requested by the State?
2.) Town government has been controlled by the Democrats for the last six years. Why are your fiscal controls just being proposed, now?
3.) When and where did any of the proposed Democrat Team, Zwirn, Whelan & Leber, sound the alarm bells as to the Town’s true financial problems? Who knew, right?
4.) Why didn’t you force or call for McGintee’s resignation before yesterday? Did he jump? Or, was he pushed?
5.) What did you know and when did you know it?
The antidote for all of this can be found in our Founding Documents. Get your self a pocket copy for $5.00 at Amazon.com. Don’t believe me?
Then try this last experiment: Hold that little brown book (when you receive it) up in front of any of today’s politicians. Watch their faces turn ashen.
It is like showing Dracula the Cross at high noon.
Otis A. Glazebrook, IV
P.S. If there are parts of the Declaration of Independence, the Bill of Rights and the Constitution that are unclear to you, as written, get copies of the Federalist and Anti-Federalist Papers. The Founding Documents form the contract that we have with each other by virtue of our being here, and that is their genius.
About the Money
Is the coming election all about the MONEY? Is it about the money we will save IF the current town board does what I have been begging it to do, which is to flat-line this current budget to last year’s level? Is it about the money we will be forced to spend over the next 10-20 years to pay for the borrowing we have done? Is it about the salaries which must be cut to save the town? Is it about the financial needs of many of the candidates who need to augment their incomes or build their egos or both? Is it all about the MONEY?
Or is it really about clearing the town’s name and reputation, reorganizing town hall to come swiftly into the 21st century, streamlining departments, and services for much more efficiency and much less cronyism, and preparing ourselves for the REALLY big problems we may face in the future that God or man may make?
Please write-in my name for East Hampton Town Board on Election Day because I do not need a job, or a career. I only feel that I have the right skill set and personality to fix the issues we face in order to prepare us for the bigger problems ahead.
Throughout this year’s intense, but never uninteresting election campaign, one candidate, Bridget Fleming, has consistently stood out as a clear-sighted, intensely energetic and tireless campaigner. She may also be the most accomplished individual running for elected office in Southampton Town. An eight year resident of Sag Harbor, Bridget is an accomplished trial lawyer, a working wife and mother, and a veteran of Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morganthau’s vaunted prosecutorial team where she was chief of the unit that prevented and prosecuted fraud in public programs. Bridget has led large, complex financial investigations and will bring that unique experience to bear in addressing the serious financial straits Southampton now faces.
Chosen as Democratic candidate for town council, Bridget is also endorsed by the Working Families Party, the Independence Party’s local leaders, and the Long Island Federation of the AFL-CIO. She is running as part of the formidable team led by Anna Throne-Holst for supervisor and Sally Pope for town board. The critical condition of Southampton Town finances, the continuing revelations of fraud and incompetence makes it imperative that someone with Bridget Fleming’s background and experience be given the responsibility of overseeing our town’s questionable bookkeeping, wasteful spending, and redundant, overlapping expenses. She has the professional expertise, the integrity, the clarity of mind and purpose, and a firm commitment to move Southampton Town away from management by crisis and back to good government. She will also create greater transparency and open up government to the civic associations and other special interest groups which have been shut out of the planning process for far too long. Bridget Fleming will make an immensely impressive, highly effective, and accountable member of the town board. Without the entire team of Throne-Holst, Fleming, and Pope, however, Southampton is very likely to be entrapped for at least two more years in the sad stasis that has characterized politics in our town for far too long.
Last week I mentioned Jefferson’s quote, “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield and government to gain ground.” This quote should hang prominently in both houses of Congress as well as the White House. It is an admonishment spoken in 1788 that should guide the interdependent relationship between “we, the people,” and our government. Do you, fair reader, not see that we are allowing government to gain ground at an alarming rate?
Proponents believe that nationalized health care is a gift. But, it is a gift with many strings attached. For example, it is not a free gift, but a gift with a very expensive price tag. It is similar to a parent giving a child a new bike while forcing the child to pay for the bike forever. That is not a true gift. Another string is the one that Jefferson warned us about, the yielding of our liberty to government. I personally do not want to yield any more of my freedom and liberty to government. I do not want history to show that we gave away the true gift our Founding Fathers and forefathers gave to us, a country of freedom and liberty.